Youth football program hopes to grow, thrive in Penn Hills

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Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 5:20 PM


Building a sustainable athletic program starts at the roots. The Penn Hills Midget Football Association is looking to create deeper roots in the community under new leadership.

It has gotten off on the right foot after their Baby Scouts team captured the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association title in the Baby Twerps division in its first year of existence.

The Baby Scouts, who consist of 5- and 6-year olds, defeated Steel Valley, 32-14, in the championship game Nov. 10.

Daimar Selby was named most valuable player of the championship game.

“It’s huge because this is where your program starts,” PHMFA President James Bradley said. “These are the parents that haven’t experienced youth football yet. Every little thing means a lot to these parents since it’s their first impression of football.”

Head coach Marc Franklin leads the Baby Scouts, who have 17 players on their roster. In order to generate interest at an early age, Bradley waived the registration fees required for kids to participate.

With the win, the Baby Scouts advanced to play in the WPYAA Super Bowl against the Hill District Rebels at West Mifflin on Nov. 16. The result of the game wasn’t available at press time.

Bradley almost didn’t allow the Baby Scouts to participate in their first season with the WPYAA, which has a 10-week regular season with 16 teams. The Baby Scouts required the proper equipment for the full-contact football league.

However, a foundation headed by a very popular and famous Penn Hills alumnus came through with the necessary funding to provide the Baby Scouts with equipment.

Aaron Donald, through the AD99 Solutions Foundation, fitted the Baby Scouts with new uniforms and helmets.

“There was so much missing equipment and poor equipment, it was almost a necessity to get the funding for these kids, otherwise we would’ve probably not been able to take them,” Bradley said.

This year, Bradley took over as PHMFA president after being involved in the community for close to two decades.

“It’s my intention to directly focus our program’s goal to feed the junior high program. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same scheme,” Bradley said. “I don’t want the junior high kids not knowing how to get into a stance or make a tackle — the fundamentals of football, which should be taught at every level.”

PHMFA, which has close to 150 kids involved in the program, had four other teams in other age divisions from 7 to 14 years old that made the WPYAA playoffs and advanced to the second round.

“The goals are the same, to provide football to kids in Penn Hills and surrounding areas,” Bradley said. “We signed up many kids for free because they didn’t have the money. I didn’t turn any kid away.”

Bradley has made some other enhancements to the PHMFA program, including proper care of the field at Friendship Park and revamping the concession stand.

As Bradley looks to continue to provide an avenue for youth to play football in the community, the ability to provide equipment still continues to be an issue for the program. For more information or to make a donation, please contact the program at [email protected]

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